Updated: Sep 8, 2021
If you’re anything like me, you’re always trying to find the quickest way to get results and I’ve got a great tip for you today.
Imagine being able to improve your rugby speed, strength, stability, muscle imbalances and reduce the risk of injury all at once. It’s an exciting concept, isn’t it.
Are you ready for it?
The answer is……
Single leg exercises.
I’m a big believer that rugby players, no matter what age or skill level, should be performing single leg exercises to improve their rugby speed.
This is especially important for younger players as single leg exercises build a solid strength base.
Don’t believe me?
Here are 4 reasons as to why you need to include single leg exercises into your training regime.
1. Mimics Game Situations
Most movements that occur in rugby like sprinting, changing direction, jumping etc take place almost entirely on one leg.
When sprinting, you are pushing off one leg at a time, when changing direction, you are pushing off your outside leg and when jumping you also push off one leg to get as high as you can.
Basically, Rugby involves supporting your entire bodyweight on one leg, so why wouldn’t you be performing single leg exercises?
2. Improves Stability
We all perform 2 legged exercises like squats and deadlifts. Sure, they are great for improving strength but one thing these 2-legged exercises don’t do is improve your stability.
When it comes to speed, single leg training improves your pelvic stability.
So, what is the big deal about pelvic stability for speed?
If there is pelvic instability, it will take longer to absorb, store, and release energy during sprinting.
This slows you down in 2 ways:
-Longer ground contact time with each stride. This acts as a brake
- Your stride length will be shorter meaning that it will take more strides to get from A to B
Stability equals speed. It’s simple as that.
3. Improves Muscle Imbalances
Single leg exercises are a great way to pinpoint muscle imbalances. There is nowhere to hide with single leg exercises.
By working on one leg at a time, you don’t give the other leg a chance to take over which unfortunately happens with 2 legged exercises like squats. This causes muscle imbalances and can eventually lead to chronic pain and injury as muscles are overworked to compensate for those weaker muscles.
Single leg exercises balance your strength so that you can sprint and change direction by producing force equally on both legs.
4. Injury Prevention
Single leg strength exercises put you in an unstable position by nature. This activates stabiliser muscles that protect your knee and ankle during dynamic movements like sprinting and changing direction.
As mentioned in point 3, single leg exercises also help to eliminate weakness in your non-dominant leg reducing the risk of injury. When your dominant leg is doing all the work to pick up the slack from your non-dominant leg, injuries can occur as muscles are overworked and eventually will become injured.
I love the benefits of single leg exercises so much that I’ve included them in my 4 week speed & agility online program. Not only will you improve your speed, but you will also improve your strength, stability, muscle imbalances and reduce the risk of injuries all in just one exercise.
Go ahead and check out the proven online program for players that want to be the fastest on the field.